St Mary Magdalene, Geddington, Northamptonshire

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Feature Sets (3)


Geddington is famous above all for the Eleanor Cross in the centre of the village. St Mary Magdalene lies just to the NE. Its nave is Anglo-Saxon, with arcaded decoration surviving on what was originally an exterior wall in the N aisle. Both faces of a splayed window pierced in this wall in the 12thc. can still be seen. The wall was pierced again for an arcade when an aisle was added in the late 12thc. The arcade is of 2½ bays, and Pevsner suggests that the original intention was to extend the nave to the E, pulling down the Anglo-Saxon E wall, but this was not done. By the time the S aisle was added in the 13thc., any such intention had been abandoned, since its arcade is of three complete pointed bays. The chancel was rebuilt later in the 13thc. and remodelled in the 14thc. This remodelling included the addition of the S chapel, and appears to be dated 1369 by inscription. Stylistically this seems 50 years too late - Pevsner goes into detail on this issue. There is also a N chapel - now housing the organ. The W tower is Perpendicular, with a spire with two rows of lucarnes. The only Romanesque sculpture is in the N arcade, and in loose stones clearly replaced from that arcade during a restoration.


St Edmundsbury Abbey held one hide and one virgate in 1086, and a further hide belonged to the king's manor of Brigstock. No church is mentioned in either holding, although there was a priest in Brigstock.

Benefice of Geddington with Weekley.


Interior Features



N arcade

Two-and-a-half bays, round headed. The arches have two plain orders towards the nave and one towards the aisle. Piers are cylindrical with roll/hollow bases.

Pier 1: The capital is a replacement identical to pier 2.

Pier 2: Multi-waterleaf capital with two waterleaf units per face and roll necking. The abacus is square in section and the impost above is also square and plain with a chamfer. The capital appears to be original but scrubbed.

W respond: The respond is an attached half column, the capital above has angle volutes and a vertical five-lobed leaf in the centre of the main face, with fluted lobes and scalloped edge. It has a roll necking.

Loose Sculpture

Fragment of base similar to those in the N arcade.

Under tower arch.


d. of stone 0.16 m
h. of stone 0.21 m
w. of stone 0.38 m

Waterleaf capital fragment.

Part of a capital similar to those in the N arcade: presumably the original capital of pier 1. Under tower arch.


d. of stone 0.21 m
h. of stone 0.15 m
w. of stone 0.21 m

Waterleaf capital fragment as (i)

Under tower arch.


d. of stone 0.15 m
h. of stone 0.18 m
w. of stone 0.40 m

Waterleaf capital fragment as (i)

Under tower arch.


d. of stone 0.15 m
h. of stone 0.11 m
w. of stone 0.25 m

Waterleaf capital fragment of same type as (i), but considerably larger.

Alongside altar in S chapel.


d. of stone 0.64 m
h. of stone 0.20 m
w. of stone 0.67 m


The Taylors dated the Anglo-Saxon church 'possibly period B', i.e. 800-950. Thompson preferred a late 10thc. date for this, and c.1170 for the N arcade. Thompson's hypothesis that the N arcade is curtailed because the chancel was extended westwards in the 13thc. seems unlikely.


  • A. H. Thompson, 'Geddington', in 'Report of the Summer Meeting at Leicester', Archaeological Journal 90 (1933), 401-03 (with plan).
  • J. Bridges, The History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire. (Compiled from the manuscript collections of the late learned antiquary J.Bridges, Esq., by the Rev. Peter Whalley). Oxford 1791, II, 310-11.
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. B. Cherry 1973, 223-25.
  • RCHME Report, uncatalogued.
  • R. M. Serjeantson and H. I. Longden, 'The Parish Churches and Religious Houses of Northamptonshire: their dedications, altars, images and lights'. Archaeological Journal 70, ns 20 (1913), 326.
  • H. M. and J. Taylor, Anglo-Saxon Architecture. I, 1965, 248-50.
  • T. Woolfenden, The Church of St Mary Magdelene Geddington, 1985.
Exterior from N.
Eleanor Cross and church from SW.
Interior to E.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SP 895 830 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Northamptonshire
now: Northamptonshire
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
now: Peterborough
now: St Mary Magdalene
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter